ISTANBUL, Oct 15 (Reuters) - The number of Syrian refugees housed in camps in southern Turkey has exceeded 100,000, the Turkish disaster management agency (AFAD) said on Monday, a level beyond which Ankara had previously said it would struggle to accommodate more.
Turkey, which has taken on an increasingly leading role in international opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has called already for the United Nations to build refugee camps in a safe zone within Syria’s borders.
AFAD said in a statement there were now 100,363 Syrians at more than a dozen camps in Turkish provinces along the border.
Tensions between Turkey and Syria have risen in the past two weeks because of cross-border shelling, and escalated on Oct. 10 when Ankara forced down a Syrian airliner en route from Moscow, accusing it of carrying Russian munitions for Assad’s military.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Sunday Turkish air space had been closed to Syrian planes. Syria banned Turkish planes from flying over its territory on Saturday. (Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Louise Ireland)